(Deming) -- The New Mexico Environment Department's Drinking Water Bureau has issued a "water advisory" for the village of Columbus.
The Columbus water system is temporarily providing water that is disinfected, but not treated by reverse osmosis to decrease elevated levels of fluoride, arsenic and other issues.
A damaged control computer for the village's reverse osmosis system prompted a request to the state Monday for a waiver to temporarily by-pass the system.
State officials said the contaminants do not pose an immediate threat to public health... and regular consumers of the water system do not need to use an alternative water supply, such as bottled water. Also, residents are advised not to boil the water, because boiling is ineffective at reducing the levels of fluoride and arsenic.
State officials are cautioning residents with specific health concerns such as compromised immune systems to consult their doctors for advice on whether to substitute bottled drinking water. The reverse osmosis system is expected to be operational Thursday.
A married couple who both hold Columbus Village trustee positions are expected to officially resign next month.
Columbus Mayor Nicole Lawson confirmed that William "Bud" Canfield and Jeane Canfield will be resigning to move to Wisconsin.
Lawson said Bud Canfield had an existing medical condition that was recently exacerbated, and they decided to move closer to family members.
Bud Canfield was in the middle of his four-year term as a trustee, and Jeane Canfield was just elected this month to a four-year term.
Bud was the last remaining trustee in office from before the gun smuggling case that rocked the border community last year and prompted the resignations of the mayor, police chief and trustee Blas "Woody" Gutierrez.
Lawson said the Canfields have not submitted their resignations yet, but she expects them to do so next month, effective April 30th.
She has notified Municipal League attorneys of the impending resignations.
Lawson said once the resignations are official, she will request letters of interest from Columbus residents who would like to be appointed to the village trustees. She will then select two candidates from those letters and submit her choices to the trustees for approval.
The first defendant in the gun smuggling case that involved the Columbus mayor, police chief and village trustee has been sentenced by a federal judge in Las Cruces.
Judge Robert Brack sentenced 27-year-old Vicente Carreon to 46 months in prison during a hearing Wednesday. Brack also ordered that Carreon be placed under supervised release for a period of three years after completing his prison term.
Brack reportedly rejected a prosecutor's request that Carreon be given a stiffer sentence.
Carreon pleaded guilty to one count of smuggling firearms from the United States and one count of conspiracy -- admitting that he assisted in the smuggling into Mexico of at least 30 nine-millimeter pistols purchased from Chaparral Guns in Chaparral New Mexico.
Carreon assisted by removing serial numbers as well as U-P-C codes from firearms boxes, purchasing a backpack used in transporting the firearms and transporting the firearms to a stash house in El Paso.
Last summer, 14 people were charged in federal indictments involving arms smuggling to Mexican cartels. Columbus Police Chief Angelo Vega, Mayor Eddie Espinoza, and a trustee, Blas "Woody" Gutierrez, were among the defendants charged.
Federal prosecutors say the defendants were part of a conspiracy in which straw buyers bought about 200 firearms from a dealer in Chaparral and sent them to Mexican drug gang members.
The latest House of Representatives redistricting plan proposed by Retired State District Judge James Hall keeps Luna County together under District 32 -- and adds most of Hidalgo County and a portion of Grant County to the representative's boundaries. Hall issued his decision Monday, meeting a deadline set by the state Supreme Court. The justices overturned an earlier redistricting plan ordered by Hall and directed him to revamp it.
The judge's latest plan shows District 32 -- the seat currently held by Democrat Dona Irwin -- being comprised of all of Luna County and all but the northern-most precinct in Hidalgo county, plus the southern most Grant County precinct.
For the past decade... District 32 has been comprised of all of Luna County and only Luna County.
Hall's previous redistricting plan gave District 32 -- Irwin's seat -- nearly twice as many Dona Ana County precincts as it did Luna County precincts... and more than two-thirds of Luna County was in District 39, the seat currently held by Rudy Martinez of Bayard.
Now District 39 starts at Bayard, goes east to encompass the southern part of Sierra County and then drops down at Salem to take in five Dona Ana County precincts.
Laurie Dominguez, age 47, was arrested for D-W-I... Kathy Chavez, age 31, was arrested for receiving stolen property... and Gregg Foster, age 44, was arrested on a Magistrate warrant for failure to pay fines.
And in juvenile news... four boys -- three age 14 and one age 15 -- were caught skipping school and smoking marijuana in an unoccupied home in Columbus.
According to a Luna County Sheriff's Department report... a neighbor heard noises coming from the home and contacted a Border Patrol agent to investigate. The agent, after discovering the teens, notified Sheriff's Corporal Jose Ojeda who was patrolling in Columbus. The three -- all Deming High School students from Palomas, Mexico -- were cited for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in New Mexico say they've made an unusual seizure -bundles of marijuana stashed inside wood-framed and mirrored quinceanera plaques. An 18-year-old Colorado woman has been arrested in the case. A pickup truck entered the Columbus port from neighboring Palomas, Mexico, about noon Sunday and the vehicle was selected for a secondary exam. Officers found numerous boxes filled with quinceanera decorations and noticed an anomaly in several of the plaques. CBP officers dismantled the plaques and recovered 104 pounds of marijuana wrapped in 100 thin, rectangular wrapped packages. Authorities say Tahlia Arana Perea, of Denver, was arrested on suspicion of possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance. It was unclear Monday whether Perea has legal representation yet.
A jailed gun store owner alleged to have sold weapons that made it into the hands of Mexican cartels says he is on a hunger strike.
Ian Garland wrote in a letter to the Las Cruces Sun-News that he won't eat until he is allowed visits from his lawyers and the media. The 51-year-old pleaded guilty in July to federal charges of conspiracy and making false statements in the acquisition of firearms. He tried to withdraw his plea last month but U.S. District Court Judge Robert Brack denied the request.
The Chaparral, N.M., man was one of 14 border residents who entered plea agreements in the case. One defendant is set for trial. Authorities accused them of conspiring to smuggle about 200 firearms favored by Mexican cartels. Involved in the same case are former Columbus Mayor Eddie Espinoza, former Police Chief Angelo Vega and former Columbus Trustee Blas "Woody" Gutierrez.
The majority of the defendants (including Garland) were arrested in March of 2011 as the result of an 84-count federal indictment. One defendant; Ignacio Villalobos remains at large. The indictment alleges the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to buy firearms for illegal export to Mexico between January 2010 and March of 2011.